Updated: 14/03/17 : 14:42:27Printable Version
Captain Dara Fitzpatrick has been named as the first casualty of this morning’s Coast Guard helicopter crash.Gerard O’Flynn, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard, confirmed her death to reporters at Blacksod in Mayo this afternoon.
Capt Fitzpatrick, who was one of four crew on board the helicopter, was taken from the sea by the RNLI Achill lifeboat and transferred to one of the two Irish Coast Guard helicopters involved in the search for the missing aircraft. She was pronounced dead in hospital.
The spokesperson said it is a “difficult time” for the service and the company who flew the helicopter.
A search for the three other crew members of Rescue 116 is ongoing.
The Coast Guard called a mayday after the helicopter, which was being tracked, disappeared from the screen at approximately 1am this morning.
A spokesperson said sea conditions were rough at the time and visibility was not good. However the conditions off the west coast when the helicopters set out were considered “fine for flying”.
He said that crew were wearing immersion suits, life jackets and had individual communication equipment.
Juergen Whyte, chief aeronautical officer with the Air Accident Investigation Unit, said two investigators were sent out to the Blacksod Bay Area after the unit received an alert from air traffic control.He said the AAIU’s main priority following the search and rescue was to recover the flight recorders contained on the aircraft.
One of these recorders records voice while the other records the parameters of the aircraft including the power of the engine, speed and height.
“That’s a crucial element of our work over the next few days,” said Mr Whyte. “To locate the source of the wreckage and within that wreckage area we are looking for the recorders.”
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